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US Senate passes act forbidding import of Myanmar's gems, timber

Published by MAC on 2007-12-20

US Senate passes act forbidding import of Myanmar's gems, timber

20th December 2007

Xinhua News

The U.S. Senate passed on Wednesday an act forbidding the import of gems and timber from Myanmar and imposes fresh financial sanctions and travel restrictions on leaders of the country.

The legislation also creates a position of special representative and policy coordinator for Myanmar who would work with the Southeast Asian nation's neighbors and the European Union to press for change in the country.

"The message to the people of Burma today is clear: the United States stands with you as you seek a peaceful, negotiated transition to democratic civilian rule," said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden. Burma is an old name of Myanmar.

The Senate approved the act after the House of Representatives passed similar legislation last week. The final bill is expected to be signed byU.S. President George W. Bush.

The United States, which has long imposed a trade and investment ban on Myanmar, has twice tightened sanctions since conflicts between the country's military government and protests in September, leading eight protestors reportedly shot dead and 42others injured in Yangon.

Bush signed an executive order on Sept. 27 to tighten sanctions, freezingassets of 14 Myanmar's military government officials under U.S. jurisdiction and forbidding U.S. citizens or groups to do financial transactions with them.

The Bush's administration released another round of sanctions on Oct. 19 on Myanmar, including tighter restrictions on the export of dual-use goodsand computers to Myanmar, visa bans and asset freezes on 11 of Myanmar's leaders.


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